V. [§ 15.5] Contribution

JurisdictionMaryland

V. [§ 15.5] CONTRIBUTION

James Wilson Corporation manufactures and sells self-propelled riding lawn mowers. George Harris Company designed and manufactured the electrical components for the lawn mowers and sold them to the Wilson Corporation. John Smith recently purchased a Wilson Corporation lawn mower, known as the "Lawn King." Upon his first attempt to use the Lawn King, Smith sustained personal injury when a short circuit in the lawn mower's electrical system caused a fire. As a result of the electrical system defect, the Lawn King was rendered useless and Smith was severely injured.

Smith sued both the Wilson Corporation and Harris Company for breach of implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Smith recovered a joint judgment in the action Wilson Corporation and Harris Company for $100,000. Wilson Corporation's proportionate share of the judgment was $50,000, and Harris Company's proportionate share of the judgment was $50,000. Wilson Corporation paid the entire judgment of $100,000 to Smith and brought this action for contribution Harris Company.

COMPLAINT


Contribution


James Wilson Corporation (hereinafter "Wilson Corporation"), Plaintiff, by its attorneys, Elena P. Pérez and Pérez & Pérez, P.A., sues George Harris Company (hereinafter "Harris Company"), Defendant, and states:
1. Plaintiff Wilson Corporation is a corporation duly organized under the laws of Maryland with its principal place of business in Baltimore County, Maryland.
2. Defendant Harris Company is a corporation duly organized under the laws of Maryland with its principal place of business in Baltimore County, Maryland.
3. On or about June 1, 2020, John Smith commenced an action Wilson Corporation, Plaintiff herein, and Harris Company, Defendant herein, based on breach of implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose for damages for personal injuries sustained while Smith was using a lawn mower manufactured by Plaintiff Wilson Corporation with component parts manufactured by Defendant Harris Company.
4. On or about September 10, 2021, John Smith recovered a joint judgment in that action Plaintiff Wilson Corporation and Defendant Harris Company in the amount of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000). A copy of the judgment is attached hereto, and incorporated as Exhibit A.
5. Plaintiff Wilson Corporation's proportionate share of the judgment was Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000), and Defendant Harris Company's proportionate share of the judgment was Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000).
6. On or about October 17, 2021, while the judgment was in full force and effect, execution issued on the judgment Plaintiff Wilson Corporation and Defendant Harris Company, and on October 25, 2021, Plaintiff Wilson Corporation paid One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) in full satisfaction of the judgment, which sum exceeded Plaintiff Wilson Corporation's proportionate share of the judgment in the amount of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000).
7. On or about October 25, 2021, Plaintiff Wilson Corporation demanded of Defendant Harris Company that Defendant contribute to Plaintiff the sum of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000) in satisfaction of Defendant Harris Company's proportionate share of the judgment, and Defendant refused and continues to refuse to contribute this sum or any sum to Plaintiff Wilson Corporation.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Wilson Corporation demands judgment Defendant Harris Company in the amount of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000) plus interest and costs.

__________
Elena P. Pérez AIS No. 0123456789
Pérez & Pérez, P.A.
One Calvert Plaza
Baltimore, Md. 21202
Phone: (410) 555-1234
Fax: (410) 555-1235
Email: EPPérez@Pérez Law.com

Attorneys for Plaintiff

COMMENT

The right to contribution exists under common law and by statute and rule. A right to contribution exists under common law based on principles of equity, where one person discharges more than his or her just share of a common burden. See Wallace v. Jones, 110 Md. 143, 72 A. 769 (1909); Smith's Ex'rs v. Anderson, 18 Md. 520 (1862). A right to contribution may also arise among joint tortfeasors by reason of statute. See Cts. & Jud. Proc. I §§ 3-1401 through 3-1409; see also Gables Constr., Inc. v. Red Coats, Inc., 468 Md. 632, 650, 228 A.3d 736, 747 (2020). Maryland Rule 2-614 also may apply. It states:

If in a single action a judgment is entered jointly more than one defendant, the court upon motion may enter an appropriate judgment for one of the defendants another defendant if (a) the moving defendant has discharged the judgment by payment or has paid more than a pro rata share of the judgment and (b) the moving defendant has a right to contribution or to recovery over from the other defendant.

Md. Rule 2-614.

The right to contribution at common law arises when the parties are under a common burden of liability and is enforceable either at law or in equity. See Lyon v. Campbell, 324 Md. 178, 182, 596 A.2d 1012, 1014 (1991); Weber v. Lauman, 91 Md. 90, 45 A. 870 (1900); Owens v. Collinson, 3 G. & J. 25 (Md. 1830). Thus every joint debtor who has...

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